OIL CITY — Emily Finley’s double-overtime goal with 4:48 remaining gave the Titusville Rockets girls soccer team its first win of the season; a 3-2 victory over the homestanding Oil City Oilers, in Region 5 play, at Oil Field, on Thursday.
The Lady Rockets (1-1 overall, 1-0 Region 5) were on the hunt for their first win of the season, but quickly found themselves down 1-0 on an Oiler goal, by Lauren Womer, 10 minutes into the contest.
The situation seemed to get worse as goalkeeper Kierstan Wheeling re-aggravated her clavicle injury that she suffered last season. If that wasn’t enough, ten minutes later, Signe Jonsson had to leave the field with an apparent hamstring injury.
It wasn’t the start Titusville was looking for, but this group of resilient girls weren’t going to give up.
“We had five total girls that were hurt at some point during the game,” Titusville coach Joey Timon said. “They played for each other and came together.”
Finley stepped in as the goalkeeper and immediately had success, stopping four shots. The Rockets also found some momentum offensively, being able to keep the ball at the opposite end of Finley.
At 2:40, Jonsson reentered the contest, and was awarded a direct free kick after an Oiler defender used her hands to stop a Rockets shot near the goal. Jonsson was able to sink the kick past the Oilers’ netminder, tying the game at 1-1, which was the score at the end of the first half. Following the goal, Wheeling returned in net for the Rockets, and made three saves in the half.
Titusville carried that momentum into the second half. With 15 minutes already played, the Oilers were looking to pass the ball up the near sideline in order to move into the offensive territory. Titusville’s Emma Cartney hustled toward the sideline, intercepted the pass, and carried the ball into the offensive zone. Cartney passed the ball near the net, where it bounced off an Oilers’ defender. That’s when Patricia Siana alertly played the carom, and sank her shot into the back of the twine, giving Titusville its first lead, 2-1.
“Patty is a very quick player, and it’s nice for her to put one on the board,” Timon said. “She’s one of the hardest workers, and she motivates her teammates because of that.”
Up by one goal, Titusville’s game plan was to keep the clock moving. The defense kept any attempt of penetration into the Oilers’ zone at bay, by kicking the ball to the sidelines. The plan was working until Oil City’s Ally Hammerly found a crease and scored, tying the contest up at 2-2 with 13 minutes left.
Both teams had chances to net the winning goal but to no avail, setting up a sudden-death extra session.
In the first overtime period, Wheeling and Oil City goalie Ronni Hammerly went stout in net. Each goalkeeper saved two shots, all within the yellow goalie box. With 30 seconds remaining, Siana attempted to net the game-winning goal but the shot was blocked by the Oiler defender, and Siana fell to the ground with an apparent leg injury. Although the Rockets escaped the first overtime tied at 2-2, Titusville’s most aggressive offensive weapon had to sit the final overtime out.
Despite having Siana out, Titusville was able to attack the Oil City goalkeeper during the second overtime period. Ronni Hammerly made three saves in the first four minutes until Finley nailed the game-winning goal. Finley’s goal, with 4:48 remaining, deflected off the hands of the Oiler goalkeeper, giving the Rockets their first win of the season.
“Emily is so versatile,” Timon said. “We played her up top, in the back, and in goal [Friday]. It’s just incredible.”
Wheeling made 11 saves in net for the Rockets, while Finley added four more. Ronnni Hammerly stopped 19 shots for the Oilers.
“It’s huge to get that first win of the season,” Timon said. “The girls worked their butts off. We started a little rough, when Oil City got that first goal on us, but we picked it up and took control from there. They worked so hard, and it’s good to see them earn one.”
Titusville will look for its second win of the season on Saturday, when the team travels to Seneca, for a non-region match, at 10 a.m.